Set in medieval Sri Lanka, this is a story of love, treachery, a dictator King and a cowardly poet that somehow manages to inspire a revolution. Asanka is the King Parakrama’s poet, he has fallen in love with a palace serving girl, Sarasi, and when the invading barbarian Magha of Kalinga conquers, he betrays his King to save his love.
The new King decides that giving the people a translation of the holy Sanskrit epic, the Shishupala Vadha, will help them love him and he commissions Asanka to write it. This book is Asanka’s confession, written to Sarasi, explaining how events spiralled out of his control.
Because this is written in the second person it has a very intimate tone which draws you in straight away. That it starts with the country under threat of imminent invasion loads on the tension so it’s easy to keep reading. A potential revolution keeps the story flowing as does the desire to see what happens next in the translated epic – itself a rollicking tale of love and betrayal!
But the real strength of this book lies in it’s beautiful writing. I mean really, stunningly beautiful writing. I found myself stopping to re-read many sentences just to enjoy their poetry, and in a few cases I felt compelled to lift a sentence from the text and create an image out of it to share such as this one.
Sometimes writing that is too beautiful will disrupt a story, but not in this case. In this case it twines round the reader, reaching right into the heart and binding them tight to the tale.
If you enjoyed the writing style in The Book Thief then I’d bet on you enjoying this too. It’s released tomorrow so go grab yourself a copy. Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending us one free to review. Our reviews are always our honest opinions regardless of whether we get books free or not but it’s such a bonus when it’s this good!